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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of columns on the importance of corporate culture from Speaker and Coach Vince Leisey, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate.

From grilling out to playing volleyball, hosting company events fuels the energy that helps build a positive culture. We believe that when agents and office colleagues socialize in and outside of the workplace, it helps them to connect with each other on a different level than just the day-to-day business interactions. Coming together in a social setting helps them work better together and creates a positive rapport, which, in turn, helps them be more productive and have smoother transactions with one another.

Our office creates as many opportunities as possible to bring agents and staff together so everyone can connect and mingle. We do this with different events throughout the year—whether it’s a company grill-out, staff party, team volleyball, attending a basketball game or giving back to the community by volunteering. These activities encourage a sense of camaraderie, which is a vital element in recognizing commonalities and appreciating differences.

Here is a glimpse of some of our fun-hearted get-togethers. We do all of these events so that we can get to know each other better outside of work. We encourage an environment that works hard and plays hard.

Staff party, sporting events
A great culture happens top down. If management and staff are happy, it helps create the positive agent environment we strive for. We explain to our staff that our agents are our clients. This reminds everyone how important a positive attitude is for success. We make sure that our staff understands how important they are to us, therefore, we have a number of events with only staff members and management. This includes a night at the ballpark, where we rent a space to have drinks and dinner as we watch a baseball game. Once during the summer on a Friday at noon, the administrative staff is invited to my house for a pool party. We provide food and drinks and I always cook them something special and different each time. Each staff member gets their special drink or special food of choice—I want to make this about them and show them how much I appreciate them. Lastly, we will take them to our company suite for a basketball or hockey game. They love doing these things and it shows them they are appreciated.

Sand volleyball league, July pool party, company grill-outs, pot-lucks and cook-offs
The volleyball league is a great stress reliever and awesome exercise! We play once a week from April through October. The highlight of the volleyball season is the fun pizza/pool party in July. Also, from spring to fall, we host 3-4 grill-outs in our office parking lot. We grill burgers and hot dogs and everyone brings a side dish. Kids and families are invited and we bring in a bouncy house for the kids. During the last grill-out of the year, agents compete in a cook-off to be the company “Grill Master.” We have a huge variety of food from smoked ribs, to chicken, brisket, burgers and turkey. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, we supply turkeys to be cooked by volunteers and everyone brings their favorite holiday dish to share. When it’s extra cold outside, we host a chili cook-off and we vote for the winner.

New-agent party, Christmas party, awards breakfast and happy hour
Every 6-7 months, we invite all new agents, administrative staff and top producers to a cocktail party. This helps the newer agents meet others and build relationships. Yearly, we host an awards recognition breakfast and Christmas party, which everyone always enjoys. Then, on lucky Thursday or Friday afternoons, I drive my motorized cooler, or roll around the office with a Tommy Bahama cooler, to deliver beers to start happy hour. This puts those agents still in the office in a relaxed and spirited mood.

Sunshine Kids, Open Door Mission
Most importantly, we focus on giving back to the community. We believe that if we are doing well and we have been successful, then we have an obligation to help others and give back. Every 18 months, we have a tremendous event for The Sunshine Kids. We put together committees of agents to work together for the benefit and good of others in need. We had over 1,000 people attend and raised over $325,000 at our event this past September. The other charity close to our heart is the local homeless shelter, Open Door Mission. Groups serve food monthly and every December, approximately 100 agents contribute by organizing food and gifts for the less fortunate.

Over the years, our company has witnessed that consistent extra-curricular company activities create a culture where agents and staff become energized. This encourages results and they become your best recruiters. Others promoting our company is much more powerful than promoting ourselves.

Vince Leisey is the president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate.

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